If it had risen in line with house prices over the last forty years, the average weekly shop would now cost £453.
Yep, that’s £453 for food for a family every week.
When Shelter told me this I was absolutely horrified. “Bloody hell,” I said to them, “it’s no wonder I can’t afford to buy a house is it?” Shelter did the research to highlight how for many people in the UK, that classic dream of owning your own home, and providing a sense of security for your family, is simply impossible.
To highlight the extent of the UK’s dysfunctional housing market, Shelter analysed the cost of a typical weekly shop for a family of four based on house price inflation since 1971. At that time the weekly shop cost £10.40, and the average home £5,632. By 2011 the price of the average home had shot up to £245,319 – over 43 times more expensive. This puts the average weekly shop at £453.23.
If you apply this same rate of inflation to some basic food items, this is what you get:
- a 4-pint carton of milk would cost £10.45
- a chicken would cost £51.18
- a bunch of 6 bananas would cost £8.47
- a box of 6 eggs would cost £5.01
- a loaf of sliced white bread would cost £4.36
- a leg of lamb would cost £53.18
It’s bonkers isn’t it? How has something as basic as housing been able to spiral so out of control? Having had my children young, I’ve been particularly affected, as I never had that window where I could buy a one-bedroom flat just to get myself on the property ladder. Will I find myself now having to wait until they leave home before I can afford to buy a house??
A recent poll by Shelter showed that 59% of British adults who don’t own a home believe they’ll never be able to afford to buy in their local area. Many are left with a choice between living at home with parents or bringing up their children in insecure private rented housing.
If this is the plight of so many young people nowadays, perhaps my children will never even be able to afford to leave home. Then we’ll all be screwed.
Have you been able to afford to buy your own house or are you priced out of the market and forced to rent?